Growth and retention are the center of SAAS companies: you grow by getting more new customers than those who stopped using your software (retention). It is arguably a very simple concept, yet very hard to actually do.
Traditional growth is now increasingly difficult due to the saturated industry environment. We can argue that unless you have virtually unlimited funding, a marketing plan relying on traditional growth is highly impossible.
So,In this guide, we will share 7 growth hack strategies for SAAS businesses, which have been done by many successful players in the SAAS industry in the past. These techniques will help you achieve a next level growth for your SAAS business.
Without further ado, let us begin with the first one.
1. Optimize Your Signup Page
Ever wonder why you didn’t get new signups? There are obviously many factors, but one of the most common mistakes made by SAAS companies is not making the sign up experience easier (and interesting) for potential customers.
Optimizing your signup page is an art in itself, but the key is to make it simple and interesting. Here are a few takeaways to help you:
- Cluttered homepage is a big no. It might be tempting to add product feature lists, press releases or even your award recognitions, but keep your homepage simple and signup-driven
- Keep the signup process in just a few, easy steps. Yet, keep it as clear as possible. Your main focus is how to help users not only in having the best signup experience, but also with their initial first steps with your product
- A video tutorial is always effective, as you get the benefit of providing the necessary information without cluttering your page
2. Start a Referral Program
Referral marketing is known as one of, if not the most effective forms of marketing regarding conversions, especially in a B2B setting. In the SAAS industry, there are many examples of excellent referral marketing programs, DropBox and Uber being some of them.
Also, running a referral program is more affordable than running ad campaigns, so this can be a growth hack option on a tight budget.
While there is no doubt about the effectiveness, running a referral program does have its difficulties. If you don’t do it properly, it can damage your brand reputation, and so it is understandable how many SAAS businesses avoid running a referral program.
The key here is incentive: without an interesting incentive, it will be hard to get your customers to refer your business. On the other hand, if your incentive is too generous, it can lead to low-quality and even spammy referrals. Your job is to find the right balance according to business and buyer persona.
As before, it is also important to make the referral process easy enough for your customers, while giving them the proper incentive as mentioned. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools to help you start a referral marketing campaign immediately.
3. Social Media Incentives
With referral campaign above, we have introduced the idea of giving incentives to gain more growth. We can apply the same idea to the saturated world of social media marketing.
Providing buttons of “Like us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Instagram” won’t be enough nowadays, simply because everyone is doing the same thing. Giving the right incentives will allow you to get ahead of the pack, while in return you will get more leads in the form of social media followers.
While offering incentives is a fairly easy process, here are some considerations you might want to have:
- The principle stays the same: give too much incentive and you lose quality, give too little and you won’t get any. Finding the proper balance is key
- Keep your promises. If you say you are going to give one extra week of free trial by liking your Facebook page, mean it.
- As usual, keep the process as simple and intuitive as possible.
4. Stream Webinars Regularly
In our previous guide on marketing for SAAS (link), we have mentioned that your contents are just as important as your software. Now, when you think about content marketing in general, the first thing that comes to mind might be your blog posts. Then, you might think to enrich your contents with videos and live streaming, as well as other forms. What about webinar, then? It is a very powerful platform overlooked by many.
For SAAS businesses, webinars are a great opportunity to give potential customers the information of how your software will perform once they download it. By showing them this, you give them more reason to sign for a free trial, that might lead into an actual purchase.
Thankfully, there are a lot of webinar tools available to help you, some of them being free. However, even with the right tools, you might still find difficulties and challenges with your webinars. Here are some tips that will help you:
- Some webinar software offers automation features, so you can pre-record some or all parts of your webinars. This is great to avoid unnecessary hiccups you will face in a live setup.
- Content planning is key, do your research and find the right topics that will attract your target audience
- Monitor the effectiveness of your webinars, many webinar software have excellent analytics feature
This guide by GoToMeeting might help you further in starting a webinar campaign.
Retargeting (and remarketing in general) is an effective marketing tactic that leads to more conversion (link to previous remarketing guide). Retargeting is basically making your previous visitors the target of your advertising or other forms of promotion.
The most common retargeting application in SAAS companies is to re-target the past visitors of their site, with the hope that if you show them your ads over and over again, they will finally purchase your product, or at least sign-up for a free trial.
Now, that’s certainly an effective remarketing strategy for SAAS businesses, but there are a lot of other applications you can try to drive growth and better retention. Here are a few ideas:
- Target those within your free-trial period with promotions for your contents. If you have webinars like we have covered above, show them ads to your webinar.
- If you can get the necessary data, you can target customers that might be in danger of churning.
- There are various tools and software that can help you start your retargeting campaign. However, it’s important to remember that retargeting can be really expensive when not managed well. Plan your budget ahead and stick to it.
6. Dominate The Content Game
We have repeatedly mentioned how content marketing is very important for SAAS businesses, and there is arguably no better SAAS growth hack than improving your content marketing.
Now, content marketing is a pretty broad topic by itself, and there are countless tactics and strategies to improve your content marketing. Yet, here are a few tips that might help you:
- What actually is content marketing strategy? Many companies made the mistake assuming that content marketing is simply developing a lot of contents, while actually it’s just one aspect of many others. If you haven’t, it’s time to get ahead of the pack and actually plan (and execute) your content marketing strategies.
- Learn from the leaders, companies like KissMetrics, Buffer, and Moz are some of the best examples of excellent content marketing in the SAAS industry. Promoting and distributing your contents are just as, if not even more important than the content development process. Check out our previous guide on content promotion here (link)
7. Improve Your Customer Experience
This is arguably the most important growth hacking for SAAS business: focus on improving your customer experience. The common mindset about growth hacking is that it’s all about promotions, contents, engagements, and all the marketing things outside your product (in this case, your software). While in truth, your product can be your most powerful growth hacking weapon by giving the best customer experience.
The idea is simple: if you can provide the best customer experience, your customers will love your product, which will increase retention, and even turn your customers into advocates. Yet, improving customer experience is easier said than done.
Here are several articles and guide that might help you:
- Help Scout posted a really nice guide on growth hacking, and how it shouldn’t compromise customer experience
- Improving customer experience is also about knowing the right metrics. This post by Userlane might help you in this aspect
- Hubspot’s guide to customer experience, a very nice read
Obviously, besides the strategies we have shared above, there are many more ways to growth hack. The key principle here is to remember that growth hack is not about copying your competitors or even other companies in other industries, but is essentially about innovation.
So, you can certainly think of new ways to achieve growth in your SAAS business. They don’t have to be complicated or expensive, as there are simple but powerful growth hack techniques that are also expensive, like the ones we have shared above.